Warning: This post contains mentions of abuse and sexual assault.
1. "When I was 28 years old, I finally left my miserable marriage. My next period was the lightest I ever experienced, and the following month, I didn’t get one. The absolute dread, misery, and fear that went through me while I waited those two minutes for the pregnancy test were excruciating. The thought of being tied to that man for the rest of my life was horrifying."
"So many different scenarios went through my head. Could I be pregnant and give the baby up for adoption without him knowing? Could I give the baby to my sister, who was having fertility issues? Could I get an abortion? Could I be a single mom? Would I end up getting back together with my husband? I’d always been anti-abortion. I wanted to have children one day. I never thought abortion was something I’d ever consider. I considered it that day. The test was negative. My missed periods were due to my extreme stress. But I vowed never to judge anyone else's choices ever again."
2. "I began working in child protection. Seeing the sheer volume of kids in abusive households, particularly ones where the level of abuse isn’t considered severe enough for the state to intervene — it’s staggering. It made me realize how many children are out there suffering right now due to poverty, parents suffering from addiction, and abuse. We don’t have enough foster and adoptive homes. There’s inadequate support for parents who are struggling to make ends meet. We just don’t have the capacity to help everyone who needs it."
"I have to drive past my local Planned Parenthood on my way home, and one day, I looked at the protesters and got so angry thinking about how many kids are suffering right now, yet the protesters turn a blind eye. In fact, many of them are the same ones who support welfare cuts. That’s when it hit me that pro-life really just means pro-birth. They don’t give a damn what happens to the babies after they’re born."
3. "My uncle who helped raise me was the pastor of our church. I remember our church would go protest at the local Planned Parenthood. Growing up with the Christian mindset, it all seemed normal. Even after getting pregnant in high school, I knew an abortion wasn’t an option because I had family and the funds to help take care of me and baby. I grew up in a very sheltered environment, so once I started meeting other young moms, seeing that not everyone was as privileged as me was a huge reality check."
"It was an easy choice for me to keep my baby, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy or even an option for some, and I do not get to say what is right for anyone else except me. I will always do what I can to protect women’s rights by voting consciously and protecting the resources that women need access to every single day."
4. "I grew up in a super-religious household, but in my early 20s, I had a conversation about abortion with a friend who forever changed my viewpoint. I realized that regardless of how I thought, America is a democracy, not a theocracy. And it’s nuts to allow a government to think they can have a say in the choices a woman makes for her body."
5. "I grew up in a conservative Christian household in a cowboy town, so I was fed a lot of pro-life, anti-gay rhetoric growing up. When I went away to college, my roommate shared that she had recently had an abortion. I was surprised because she was a really great person who had done this thing that I was always told was evil. For the first time, I asked myself what I would do if I got pregnant."
"I realized that I would terminate the pregnancy too. It seemed really hypocritical to judge women for doing something that I would also do if I were in their situation. Also, I later realized I was in love with that roommate. That made me pro-choice AND gay! Needless to say, I’ve definitely outgrown the ideology of my upbringing."
6. "I grew up very staunchly pro-life. Honestly, having a miscarriage changed everything for me. When you have a miscarriage, it’s coded as a spontaneous abortion (which was honestly kind of traumatizing). It sparked a conversation between my minister husband and I about where the line would be. How do we know it’s not headed down a path where women would have to prove they didn’t miscarry on purpose?"
"We also realized that it’s not our job to judge other people and their situation. Oh, and if conservatives are going to say they’re 'pro-life,' that needs to happen from womb to tomb. Care about every level of human being."
7. "I was raised in a Catholic household where abortion was considered murder. It took moving out of my parents' house for college to really form the pro-choice stance I have now. I'm a guy and have never felt the fear or pain of a possible or actual unwanted or life-threatening pregnancy. Hearing the countless stories from women in those situations has impacted me greatly. The version of things I knew as a child came down to just being anti-abortion, not 'pro-life.' If it is 'pro' anything, it would more accurately be 'pro-birth' with no regard for what else happens or what quality of life there is for anyone involved."
"Ultimately, getting more educated and leaving behind a religion that was only ever my family's and not my own is what paved the way for and accelerated my development to now being firmly pro-choice. And it allowed me to see it as such a broader issue than just being the morality police. It's about body autonomy. It's about being able to make the right decision for your own life. And the bottom line is that it's not my business."
8. "Up until college, I was against abortion, but then my best friend got pregnant. She had been raised Catholic, and her family put pressure on her to have the baby. She was 18 so it was her decision, but her family acted like she had no other choice but to have it. It really opened my eyes up to the fact that no one should have control over our body or our choice."
"I became involved in our local Planned Parenthood near campus because I wanted to help educate others that we deserve the right to choose. Now, I am firmly pro-choice."
9. "My little sister was born with Cerebral Palsy. When she grew up, she moved into a facility for disabled adults where she gets to live, work, and enjoy life like all of us. Two years ago, she was sexually assaulted by another resident in her home. I grew up in a VERY conservative fundamentalist Christian home where abortion was never, ever okay in any situation. I’ll never forget being in the hospital room, watching them perform a rape kit on my 27-year-old sister, who had the mental capacity of a 4-year-old, and being asked how we would proceed if she was pregnant."
"That was the day it changed for me. She could never safely carry and deliver a child. I couldn’t believe it took something so horrible to see something so obvious."
10. "I got pregnant on my 18th birthday. That is all it took for me to switch. It’s so easy to judge and assume (which I had done for years), but you don’t know until you’re in that situation. I had an abortion quickly after I found out. I am so thankful to have been able to make that choice. I have no regrets."
11. "I grew up VERY conservative Christian, so I volunteered at the anti-abortion clinics in my town and thought Planned Parenthood was the devil incarnate. When I was 25, I learned that birth control could be used for other things than preventing pregnancy, including my incredibly painful periods. The nearest pharmacy that took my insurance was Planned Parenthood. When I was there, I met an absolute angel of an MD who walked me through all my choices, answered all my questions, and treated me like a friend."
"After I got home, I decided to go online and find stories of why people were pro-choice. I’d been so wrong about Planned Parenthood; what else was I wrong about? Reading these stories changed my view. No matter what I would choose for myself (I honestly don’t know what I would do), it doesn’t mean it’s my right to force that decision onto someone else. I’m still a Christian, but hearing other people’s stories helped me grow from what I was to who I am: pro-choice, pro-helping others, and the queerest Ace gal you ever did see. Keep telling your stories. They change lives."
12. "I was raised Catholic and grew up thinking abortion should be illegal. Never really gave it a second thought and didn’t delve deep into what that actually meant. When I got to high school, I had a conversation with an older student, and all she had to say was, 'But what if you needed one? No questions asked? Wouldn’t you want it to be legal and safe?' And I realized that she was right. It was the gentle push of critical thinking I needed. I’ve never wavered since."
"Lots of folks call themselves 'pro-life' without realizing that this is the political point of view that wants to make abortion illegal and prosecutable by law. It’s deceptively named by design, imo. Bottom line is this: Maybe you personally don’t see yourself having an abortion but wouldn’t want to make it illegal for others, then guess what? You’re pro-choice."
13. "I grew up religious and pro-life as a default. After needing IVF to have a child of my own and having a high-risk pregnancy, I realized that it is dangerous, exhausting, and frankly, none of anyone’s business what a pregnant person decides to do. No one should make a decision like that for anyone else."
"It is up to the pregnant person to decide what is best for them with their doctor, and that’s it. Their health and choice must always come first. I wish I didn’t have to go through pregnancy to realize this, but better late than never."
14. "I was raised very religious and even though I had become liberal by the time I was a teenager, I was still pretty strongly against abortion. This all changed during my first job after college. My manager, who I looked up to a lot, was in a horrible relationship with a guy who cheated on her, stole from her, and abused her. He already had 4 or 5 kids, and she was adamant that she never wanted children. But then her birth control failed, and she got pregnant. She saw her life either stuck with this piece of shit or raising a baby on her own, so she made a choice."
"I covered for her when she left work, crying as she went to get the procedure, and she broke up with him basically as soon as she was healed. When she told me why she had been out of the office, I realized that I cared so much more about her than the fetus, which was so early in its developmental stage that it was incapable of human thought. She was an incredibly bright young woman who had found herself in an awful situation and chose her own future and her own mental health over a tiny being with no consciousness. I respected her so much for it and never judged a woman for getting an abortion for any reason after that."
15. "For me, it was the hypocrisy. The end goal for pro-life proponents seems to be only for the baby to be born. But after the child is born, these same people refuse to support social assistance or give help to the women unable to financially and emotionally support their children. How is that a 'better' life for the child? If pro-life supporters truly want to help unborn children, they need to support that child's ENTIRE life, not just the one pre-birth."
16. "I’m pro-life when it comes to my own personal life, but pro-choice politically. Every woman has a right to make the decision for herself. When I started hearing the stories of so many women who were hurt or killed due to illegal abortions, my heart broke. Abortion needs to be safe, and in order for that to happen, it has to be legal."
17. "I first began to rethink abortion when I found out my best friend in high school had one at 17. I was devastated that she went through that without me because she was scared of my judgment. We talked it through and are still best friends, now in our forties. I personally believe in the sanctity of the life of an unborn child. But I also believe we have to continue caring about people once they're born. People parenting children with disabilities, parenting in poverty, teenage parents, and parents who have their own health issues face an uphill battle all their lives. I run a non-profit now with my husband, helping families in crisis."
"Sometimes, our work includes supporting someone through an abortion, and I'm sad about it, but I never want anyone to feel like my best friend did, alone and scared. We help families find housing, medical care, mental health care, and public benefits. We provide food, contraception, support groups, and parenting classes, and we work closely with child welfare. I've seen so many complicated life stories. I want to be part of the change our country needs, not creating more problems and more barriers."
18. "Religious upbringing, religious schools from K-12th grade. It was what I was taught. But then I got pregnant a year after high school. I knew I was completely not ready for that and knew what I wanted to do. Over the past 15 years since, there have been some times of sadness, but ultimately, I knew I made the right call. And I definitely couldn't go back to my previous stance when I had done it myself. I saw pro-choice much more clearly."
19. "Growing up, my family and I were very pro-life. It was ingrained in my mind that babies are always a blessing. Fast forward to graduating nursing school and volunteering at Planned Parenthood. People who have abortions were always portrayed to me as promiscuous, thoughtless, and selfish. But when I cared for women undergoing abortions, I found the opposite to be true. Some people were terminating their pregnancy so they could provide for their existing children. Some people were in middle or high school. At the end of the day, our focus should be on support."
"Helping everyone have safe access to medical care. Helping individuals who want to provide for the children but may not be able to at the point they’re in in their lives. Financial issues are a major reason people terminate their pregnancies. I feel like instead of stopping abortion through financial support, birth control, and education, pro-lifers get more enjoyment out of shaming those getting abortions."
20. "I was raised in an evangelical 'pro-life' household. I wore shirts to school that said things like 'stop killing my generation.' It wasn't until I became pregnant myself that I started to realize how much a pregnancy truly controls every aspect of your life. Once I gave birth, I began to drop all my previous opinions about abortion. I had health issues that still affect me today, almost ten years later. I can admit that after having kids, if I were to get pregnant again, I would strongly consider abortion as my body would absolutely fall apart. No woman should lose the ability to chose between pregnancy and good health."
"Also, the fact that men bear absolutely no responsibility for bringing a child into this world absolutely means they should not have a say in the matter."
21. "I found myself in a position where I had to make the decision for myself, and I chose to get an abortion. I was 25 and already a single mom to a five-year-old. I had recently lost my job, and my daughter and I had to move back in with my parents to try to rebuild my life. I wasn't in a committed relationship and wasn't even certain who the father was. If I disclosed to anyone in my religious family that I was pregnant outside of wedlock, yet again, it would have been disastrous. I had already been temporarily disowned when I was pregnant with my daughter, and a second round of the most disappointing news a preacher's kid can share would have been incredibly devastating to everyone. Not to mention, I was penniless and already trying to support a small child."
"I was so terrified that I would have done just about anything to make it stop. I was willing to do any back alley abortion necessary. Luckily, I had a doctor who was incredibly supportive, and I was able to drive myself to a clinic in a city nearby and get a medical abortion through his contacts. There are women who are literally in danger if they were to become pregnant. Women who can't afford to have another child and lack any support in doing so. There are women who simply don't have a desire to have children. There are myriad reasons why women need to make this decision on their own behalf."
22. "I was sexually assaulted. My assault did not put me at risk of getting pregnant, but it changed me. I was so scared but also felt so lucky that my life wouldn't be derailed by an unwanted pregnancy. And in that moment, I understood pro-choice. It has been almost 12 years since my assault, and I am graduating medical school this year. I will be an obstetrician and gynecologist, and I will be able to help people who are choosing to end their pregnancy."
"Whether that is because they were assaulted, their birth control failed, developmental abnormalities of the fetus or any other reason, they should be able to choose. One of my biggest regrets is protesting outside of an abortion clinic at the age of 13 as part of my confirmation into the church. I hope I can make up for this as I advocate for pro-choice."
23. "I used to be heavily involved in Wisconsin Teens for Life. I volunteered at a Crisis Pregnancy Center where we knowingly lied to women on the phone to get them to come in. And we handed anyone with a positive pregnancy test a pair of baby booties when we gave them the news. It was super manipulative, but I thought – quite literally – I was doing God's work. My first year in college, I stumbled across a book called How the Pro-Choice Movement Saved America at the campus bookstore."
"I picked it up, thinking it would give me some food for thought for my forthcoming social work classes. It blew my mind – completely recontextualized my understanding of reproductive rights. I’ve been an ardent pro-choice voice ever since."
24. "I had severe postnatal depression and postnatal anxiety after my second-born, with the pandemic making it worse. I finally got the help I needed and started on antidepressants, only to find out we were pregnant with our third baby."
"If I had stopped my medication and added another child to the family, I honestly don’t think I would have made it through. Although it was a devastating decision, we had to choose my life and my children’s well-being."
25. "I was raised in a religious household and was strongly anti-choice through high school. It wasn’t even college really that changed my mind, it was life experiences. The world is not black and white, right and wrong. It’s all gray. No one knows another person’s situation or mindset, so no one has a right to make a life-altering decision for anyone else."
"Once I figured that out, becoming pro-choice was a no brainer. Why would anyone feel they had a right to force a baby on someone and say it’s the right thing to do for the parent or the baby? Let the woman who knows her own situation decide!"
26. And finally, "I grew up sheltered in a conservative community in North Carolina. When abortion was talked about, it was in terms of women who knew exactly what they were getting themselves into, not caring about the consequences, and flippantly ending pregnancies without any 'need' to do so. As I got older and learned about how women's bodies can be abused by their partners, how pregnancy can be life-threatening, how some fetuses can be incompatible with life but still be carried full term, and how essentially being able to have a baby is a financial privilege in this country, I realized these weren't women who wanted to 'kill babies.' These were women put in impossible situations by a patriarchal and capitalistic society."
"Women failed by their education system and blocked from knowing the most basic information about about their bodies and how to protect it. Women who have to choose between bringing another life into this world when they can barely afford to care for the children they already have. Strangely enough, the more I learn about how our society treats women and mothers, the more I think the conservatives that push to dismantle public welfare, sex education, and universal healthcare are inadvertently forcing women into the very situations that cause them to seek abortions."